Another College Official Resigns Over Racial Issues

Dean at Claremont McKenna College steps down
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2015 12:40 PM CST
Another College Official Resigns Over Racial Issues
This file photo shows the campus of Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif.   (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Another college official has resigned in the wake of racial tension, this time in California. Mary Spellman, dean of students at Claremont McKenna College, stepped down Thursday, after sending an email that sparked an uproar last month, the Los Angeles Times reports. But the larger brouhaha started in April, when around 30 students of color wrote to the college's president to complain about feeling uncomfortable on campus. Just 4% of undergraduates at the school are black, 8% are mixed race, 10% are Asian-American, 12% are Latino, and 43% are white. The students listed incidents such as racial slurs, vandalism, and mockery on campus, and accused administrators of trying to silence their complaints. Then, last month, one Latina student wrote an op-ed in which she discussed feeling uncomfortable at the school, and Spellman responded with a letter promising to assist students "who don't fit our CMC mold." Cue outrage.

Spellman's email sparked more protests, including a hunger strike by two students, and the university did a review of her office. She apologized but ultimately stepped down anyway. "I believe [stepping down] is the best way to gain closure of a controversy that has divided the student body and disrupted the mission of this fine institution," she wrote in her resignation email. The student protest leaders say they're not done; they want more diverse faculty and staff and more funding for multicultural clubs, among other things. In addition to similar protests at Mizzou, the Times notes that students at New York's Ithaca College are also calling for the president to resign because he allegedly has not addressed racial problems on campus; the New York Times reports that students at Yale and UCLA have also been protesting in recent weeks over campus racial tensions. (More racial tension stories.)

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